The Purchase Brothers have released the first episode of a Half-Life 2 fan video Escape From City-17.
Now that you’ve watched it — here’s the really impressive part — the first two episodes were made on $500. It’s a marvel how far you can get when people work for the love.
The video liberally uses effects and designs from the video game to great effect (which also serves to make the production cheaper) — the flatline sounds for the Combine Police, the gun FX, and re-works the computer effects of the tripods and Combine ships.
We’ve seen only a bit of characterization so far, but the premise provides more than enough narrative momentum for now.
Escape From City-17 is one of a growing number of professional-level fan videos which, through new media outlets such as YouTube, serve as a training and proving ground for up-and-coming directors/animators/actors. It’s a formula already proven by Felicia Day’s The Guild, LonelyGirl15, etc. Escape From City-17 is additionally impressive due to the effects involved. Rather than having to move to LA (or an equivalent film center–I’m going to speak from a USA perspective) and spend years trying to break in, creators can make their own works, distribute and advertise via YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, etc., and some of them break through. The chance of success may not be any better than breaking in by going to LA, but the opportunity cost is much less, as it doesn’t force creators to up-root and move across the country/world.
This is only the first episode, so we have more coming. The Purchase Brothers have already been in contact with Valve, so I imagine we will see much more from this team.